"I could choose to live at my family's estate if I wished too. But then, I wouldn't feel right doing that. By living in the barracks, I have a more direct access to the men I lead. The Grandmaster, my father, and your mother all say to lead by example. Which is exactly what I do." Speaking of his father sent chills down his spine, and his eyes saddened. His father had passed away earlier in the year, and his mother was now head of the family. He terribly missed his father, and had not attended the funeral due to other duties. He also had yet to visit his father's grave, as he felt it would be too painful for him.
He briefly calls out to her. "I do hope that you sleep in your own bed tonight!" He then gets up and walks back to the barracks. He goes to the Arena master,and sets things up for the next day, before retiring to his quarters. He already knew what he was going to do if he lost, his feelings be damned. His last thoughts were what Nicola would do if she lost, and then he drifted off to sleep.
Waking up fully rested, she did in fact sleep in her own bed. Slipping out of bed, she put her feet on the marbled floor, she shivered. It was cold. She slipped on her clothes for the day, a tight black tank top with a half cut loose shirt that stopped right below her breasts and a pair of white capris.
"I wonder what the festival look like finished this year..." Nicola walked to her window and opened up the curtains, she gasped at the sight of the festival, for it was gorgeous. Steamers and and scarves were hanging off of everything, colors exploded together making it seem like a sea of fun.
The meeting with the elders of the Ashei clan didn't go as well as Marc had hoped. Still, it went better than he had feared. Zane had managed to compromise most of their demands. The Ashei clan was a big clan, they had always been supporters of Zane, but it was also a very proud and demanding clan. Contacting them and claiming them had been a risky operation from the start, however with their support they managed to triple their number. However, it came at a cost... Their hatred for the Avians was deep and they demanded an attack on the Avian capital. Marc had argued against it, their numbers were far to small, even at full power they hadn't dared to attack it. After a heated argument they managed to settle for causing chaos during the festival. Despite the fact that Marc was against the attack he had to admit it, if they managed to complete the task, not only would they achieve the full loyalty of the Ashei clan, but also the loyalty and respect of many other clans. At the same time it was the perfect moment to publicly announce that Zane was alive, which would gain even more clans and would bring huge discredit to Oppel...
On top of it, there wouldn't be a better time. The Avians wouldn't be on their guard as much, because there was a festival and because the Serpentine kingdom had fallen. The more Marc thought about it, the plan seemed less and less suicidal.
Alex woke up fairly early the next morning. He had preparations to make. Simply one day of rest had done wonders for him, and he made sure that all was ready for his little bout with Nicola. He went to the Arena, and warmed up a little bit. Now all there was to do was to wait until she arrived.
"You really are full of it." She easily hops over the little railing around the arena and walks up to him tapping his halberd with her finger. "You might as well put that away.." She kidded and took her fighting stance, she had no weapon, for she didn't need one.
"Why don't you choose what we go to." She said, before vanishing. For a few moments she was completely gone. There was no stirring of dust or sounds besides the marketplace to be heard. It had seem she had left. She didn't take it to seriously as she appeared behind him and bumped the back of his knees pushing him forward. She was simply enjoying herself.
Unfortunately, Nicola had made a bad choice. Alex was still a soldier, with all the training and reactions that went with it. As soon as she bumped him, he instinctively kicked backwards with his other foot, which would connect squarely into her mid-drift.
Taking the kick, she grabbed his foot and held it to her stomach as she pulled really hard making his fall forward. Dropping his foot, she jumped up as her wings appeared and held her in a hover right above him. She rubbed her stomach.